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My Cloth Diaper Solution

the cloth diaper cover that works for me

I’ve been using cloth diapers since Emma was nine or ten months old, and and after four kids and six years’ worth of experimentation I’ve finally found a solution that works really well for us – day and night! After trying nearly every kind of cloth diaper available (pockets, all-in-ones, prefolds, flats, velcro, snaps) and every material apart from wool (irritates my skin, so I’m loathe to try it on my babies) here’s what works for me:

  • Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap covers. These neither leak nor blow out on me. You have to buy two different sizes, but if you do you’re set from birth to potty training.
  • OsoCozyBirdseye Flat Unbleached Diapers. These are a great size, soft, and very absorbent – and they wash up great. They will shrink down to a slightly rectangular fold after washing (just because all fabric shrinks more in one direction than the other, and these are, apparently, not pre-shrunk), but I actually find that the rectangular shape works well for me – I use the origami fold:
  • Cloth wipes – I make my own, and have a cloth baby wipes tutorial on this blog
  • California Baby Diaper Area Wash.
  • Kitchen-size trash can
  • Two Kissa’s Pail Liners – although I saw a Kanga Care Wet Bag at a friend’s house and loved that that design didn’t require a trash can, even – just something to hang the wet bag from (she had hers attached to her changing table).
  • Two diaper-bag-sized wet bags. I have a Smitten Baby Wet Tote that a friend gave me that works beautifully!

Covers go into regular laundry, and the flats and wipes go into a dry bin (in the pail liner). The pail liner goes into the washer along with the flats, everything is rinsed cold, washed hot, and then dried. I wash my diapers using Country Save Laundry Detergent along with a few drops of tea tree oil. Then diapers get line dried in good weather (provided I’m organized enough), or they go into the dryer.

You can see some previous cloth diaper options that I explored in this old cloth diaper stash post. And this post explains why I switched over to cloth diapers.

Both of my cloth diapering sisters use these same Thirsties covers, although one of my sisters uses prefolds instead of flats inside the covers.

Do you use cloth diapers? What works best for you?


MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

14 thoughts on “My Cloth Diaper Solution”

  1. such good info! i’m trying to wrap my brain around all of this, lol. what’s a wet bag? is that where you put wet diapers? and how many diapers did you have on hand?

    1. A wet bag is where you put the dirty diapers before you wash them. You can buy wet bags that hang on doorknobs; mine is the right size to fit in a 30 gallon kitchen trash can and that is what we use. I have about 30 diapers with 12 covers. I will wash covers that just had wet diapers in with our regular clothes, but the poopy ones get washed with the flats. Right now that stash can last almost a week since Anna is older, but when she was a newborn I had to wash the diapers every 2-3 days. That sounds like a lot, but if your baby isn’t drinking any formula you can just throw newborn diapers in the wash straight off – breastmilk is water soluble and so washes out beautifully. And, more importantly, I find that my babies’ diapers don’t blow out with cloth anywhere near as often as they do in disposables, so their outfits don’t get stained!

  2. I use cloth but am still scared to try prefolds. That oragami fold really does look complicated. And my son is such a squirm bug! So despite their initial cost I love AIO’s.

  3. What does the tea tree oil do? I use the bum genius all in ones and the stuff in kind. They work pretty well, but the valcro system on them have seen better days:) I like that you can fit them like a diposable diaper, but they wear down a lot easier. They absorb pretty well, but I do have to change them more often than disposable, but I think that is normal. I also have an issue with the amonia smell after my son wets them. Any suggestions on getting that smell to die down?

    1. The tea tree oil helps prevent the ammonia smell – and that is part of why I switched over to flats, because I find that the ammonia smell is much worse with diapers that use fleece. The other thing that helps is to add a drop (really just a drop) of dishwashing detergent (hand detergent, not the stuff you put in a dishwasher) to the rinse you run before washing the diapers. Hope this helps!

  4. Elisa | blissfulE

    Your system and supplies sound fantastic! I see this has been pinned a bunch of times – you’re helping a lot of people avoid some expensive trial-and-error. :)

  5. We also used thirsties covers and loved them but we went with prefolds and if I had it to do over again (which I’m glad I don’t) I would have gone with flats. I just discovered them a little too late.

    1. It took me three kids to discover that Thirsties covers with flats worked better for me than any of the supposedly easier options…

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